Quilting with Annie Smith-Applique

Annie Smith, Applique, Machine Quilting

Good Morning, Quilters!

One of the perks of being a BERNINA Ambassador is attending a yearly “Reunion” at BERNINA’s HQ in Illinois.  We learned all kinds of new things and got to try all the latest sewing machine models.  But–the best part–meeting other BERNINA Ambassadors who have a wide range of interests:  quilting, embroidery, home decoration, clothing construction….


At my first Reunion, I met the very talented quilter, Annie Smith.  Annie has many quilting skills and started the first-ever podcast for quilters.  Check out her website, Annies Quilting Stash–(be sure you’ve already done your daily dose of exercise, because you will be lost in her site for hours!)

One of Annie’s skills is machine appliqué.  I convinced her to let me quilt one of her blocks as a demo for YOU, gentle readers of The Inbox Jaunt. 

This was the step-by-step process–perhaps it will give you some guidance for your next project.


STEP ONEHang the quilt where you can look at it frequently.  This really helps you visually absorb the pattern.  Your sub-conscience can work on it too! (I get some of my best ideas during the night.)

STEP TWO-Avoid this step if possible–Worry that you will ruin the block with your machine quilting….AND it’s not even YOUR own block you will be ruining…This lingers and no work will be accomplished until…

STEP THREE-Set a Deadline-This poor block languished for weeks until I made a deadline.  This works most of the time for me…

STEP FOUR-Perform a leading task–A leading task is some easy, mundane task that will not cause permanent damage to the quilt…choosing thread is a great one…you get to play with thread and color….These tasks really help draw you in and get things rolling…

Annie Smith, Applique, Machine Quilting

STEP FOUR-Start stabilizing or outlining the motifs.  This is just another “leading task”–it’s not creative, and no damage to the gorgeous appliqué block with this step. I like to outline each motif using a closely matched thread.  I stitch on the background fabric–not the edge of the appliqué itself.  This helps the appliqué pop up a little.

Annie Smith, Applique, Machine Quilting

(You can see the placement of the gold stitches around the gold appliqué in the photo below.)

Annie Smith, Applique, Machine Quilting

STEP FIVE-Begin adding motifs around the appliqué. This is when quilting becomes DANGEROUS-especially when you are working on an award-winning quilter’s block!  Your heart is racing…you’re sure you are ruining it…oh dear, dear, dear!

The upside–you will keep your deadline…and that is the only upside at this point.

Annie Smith, Applique, Machine Quilting

STEP SIX-Echo stitching and layering in more details.

Okay, okay…things are starting to look okay…not an epic fail…


STEP SEVEN-Turn on music.  This is starting to be fun…I think she might like it….

Annie Smith, Applique, Machine Quilting

Phew!  I like it!

STEP EIGHT-Mail it back and cross your fingers that YOUR vision was HER vision….

Annie Smith, Applique, Machine Quilting

STEP NINE-Phone call from Annie–she loves it!

Will I collaborate with her on a larger piece for show???


What could I say?  When’s the deadline?

Happy Applique/Quilting!


PS…All tutorials, images and information are the property of Lori Kennedy at The Inbox Jaunt and are intended for personal use only.  Feel free to re-blog, pin or share with attribution to The Inbox Jaunt.  For all other purposes, please contact me at lckennedy@hotmail.com.  Thanks!

63 thoughts on “Quilting with Annie Smith-Applique

  1. Great post! And timely too. Spent too much time this week in Step 2. I will print this and hang it in my sewing room. Absolutely stunning work, Lori!

  2. I really benefitted from seeing fmq on this block. I can see how you apply it to an actual quilt. It’s not easy to see how to fit fmq around applique. I’d like to see more of your quilting on actual quilt blocks, both applique and pieced blocks.

  3. Lori & Annie – This is the most beautiful use of appliqué and quilting I’ve ever seen! Yes, do more together!

  4. Gorgeous!!! Um… How big is larger… Lol! I learned to ask that question the hard way! Lol! That willl be incredible… Are you excited!?

  5. Together you made an awesome quilt! It turned out to be absolutely gorgeous! It always amazes me how beautiful quilting enhances a project.

  6. Today’s post is perfect for me. I have been sitting with a hand appliquéd quilt for many years and have not had the courage to quilt it or even what to do, I will start wth your suggestion of just putting it out so I can look at it over time and then start it. Thank you for your many wonderful ideas and lessons.

  7. Beautiful! You always make it look so easy! Reading and looking at the pictures it seems that I should take it one step at a time, building layer upon layer. ((((nerves)))) Like I said you make it look so easy and beautiful! Well done.

  8. This is my first time to consider Applique. I’ve been trying a variety of stitches and really like your ‘ blanket’ edging… It doesn’t pucker the way the satin stitch might.
    I’ve been playing on a Row by row design, in prep for the main event… A large bicycle on a Landscape background. Must set the deadline and get going!
    I think I’m blocked on step two… The stitching will ruin it… If at first you don’t succeed … Keep quilting. Apparently more is better…

  9. You are expressing so well all my fears : I can’t avoid step 2 because I don’t have to work on a machine appliqué quilt but in a hand appliqué one ! I worked on it for several years and of course I am afraid to ruin it !
    Thank you Lori for your kind answer regarding the photos I sent you on the Doodle class.I’ll try to be more confident. Kind regards.Marie

  10. Was in a hurry this a.m. to get thru the e-mails, but couldn’t resist one more and I am so glad I gave in to temptation. What a great duet you two make. The applique was ho-hum for a while, but it got better and better and then…POW, the background hit me in the eyeballs. OK, now gotta get with the weed-whacking while it is semi-cool.

  11. Beautiful block–of course, I enjoy seeing everything you do! It helps to see how to fmq around an applique block. Can you do more?

  12. Beautifully done. I have actually two applique quilts in my “finish or die” pile. Great advice. Again….beautifully done. Thank you!

  13. Hi Lori, I know exactly what you mean and I’m right there with you. I just loaded a queen sized quilt on my long arm frame, and the owner wants it loaded with feathers and there’s huge amounts of negative space to fill. Last night I embarked on the journey. And yup, my heart was pounding when I did those first few plumes… So far so good, but it’s a long way to go before I’m done.

  14. About your second step 4–I never would have thought of outlining a piece outside the piece itself. It looks very nice. I wish I could think of neat things like that!

  15. Why…it’s absolutely fantastic! Your talents…never cease to amaze me. QUESTION: How did you quilt the outline stitching? Looks like you used FMQ but if so…how to do that teeny~tiny of a zig-zag so perfectly? My mind is boggled.

    • The zig zag is Annie’s applique. I added the straight stitches around each applique piece after it was basted to batting and backing.

  16. What’s the name of this block? I LOVE IT! I love both the applique and the quilting. Thank you so much for sharing. I’m so glad to know that someone’s task list includes “oh dear, dear, dear”, just as mine does. 🙂

  17. This is absolutely gorgeous! My question is when quilting the background, is this done without starts and stops? Did you do step 5 around the entire block and then just move into step 6 without breaking your thread?

    • Usually that is how it goes but sometimes I get caught in a corner and I have to knot off and start again.

  18. Thank you, Lori, for being so encouraging. I’m still a rookie FMQer but am getting more confident with every project. I have a hand applique “block of the month” quilt that took me about a decade. Don’t know if I have the guts to tackle it with FMQ just yet. Perhaps, after more practice, on the ones that don’t seem to matter as much. Please keep doing what you are doing. You are truly an inspiration!

  19. It is beautiful. You are so creative. I’m kind of a newbie at quilting and always amazed with all of your ideas. I enjoy reading your blog every day.

  20. I love love love Annie Smith! She was the first BOM I took and if anyone ever wants a fabulous teacher, she is it! We had a live video chat once a week, how fabulous was that! I look at my quilt everyday hanging in my living room! Love her! Just signed up for her new IQuilt class!!!

  21. You never cease to amaze! Love this & it is very inspiring. I have wondered about such things! Thanks for sharing!

  22. Darn you Lori Kennedy! I did not do what you told me and went to Annie Smith’s blog before exercising and now I am going to have to watch what I eat for the next couple of days. Just kidding but thanks for posting her link so I can learn even more after perusing your blog. Guess my “computer butt” is just going to keep getting bigger! Oh well …..

  23. Can I ask what thread you used for the background fill. Absolutely beautiful – one quilter/PT to another. Love your work, blog and all you do.

  24. I loved your list of steps! Great humor and truth…I get stuck on planning what to do for the quilting. I like the first to hang the work and look at it often and the setting a deadline is awesome! I think I should copy this list where I can view it too! Thanks for all of your inspiration.

  25. thank you for this…..I have a “12 days of Christmas” quilt, that I made for my Husband, and 12 of the blocks are machine embroidered with amazing designs signifying the 12 days, I have yet to quilt those blocks, as I do not want to destroy the piece. You have given me courage to create a few of them on individual blocks and then start your process, Hopefully I will be able to visualize something for them. If only they were flowers…I might feel more confident…but 8 maids around a cow…????
    Thank you for your insight!!!

  26. Absolutely stunning! The applique was beautiful on its own, but the quilting is what takes its to another level. I am always amazed by how quilting improves a quilt. Just scared that my quilting won’t be right? Thank you again for an enlightening post!

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